Growing Out On A Limb


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Adjustment

I read a quote quite some time ago:

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. 

It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body”.

~ Elizabeth Stone

We had Oliver when I first read this but I still didn’t get it.  I mean, I got what the quote was saying but it really didn’t resonate with me.  Not then.

But now I get it and I think about that quote almost constantly.

I have been back to work for over a week now (hence the blog silence).  It’s fine:  the work is fine, my co-workers are fine, the change to routine is still working itself out but is fine.  When people ask me how I’m doing with the change, I think about that quote because it says it clearly:  I am here at work every day, going through the motions, and yet I feel like my heart is somewhere else.  Like the biggest part of me isn’t even with me.

I’ve done this before so I thought I knew what to expect when mat leave was over.  I thought it would be easier.  But it really isn’t.

There were a few days that Emery cried when we arrived at the sitter’s, once he realized that this was happening every day.  But he was over that quickly and takes off before I even get Oliver undressed now.

And Oliver understands that mommy is back to work so his adjustment has been easy (he’s a little more amped up after supper but even that is ironing itself out).  I try to gleam everything I can out of Oliver at the supper table – “So what did you do today?  Did you go outside?  Did you cry?  Did Emery cry?  Did you go in timeout?  Did you nap?” – all so I feel a little more connected with their day, I suppose.

I miss them, even the squealing fits and the “NO!”s.  I know they are in a good place and are with a good person that we trust implicitly but it does not (and will never) sit well with me that my boys are with someone else more waking hours of the week than they are with us.  I know that’s the way most families do it now and that it’s a sign of the times and a product of a lifestyle that people seem to think they need to keep up with, but does that make it the best thing?  I guess it’s a really important question for every family to mull over.

Raw honesty:  As much as I would like to, sometimes I wonder if me being home would even be the best thing for my boys.  There are days that I am impatient, that my temper gets the best of me, or that I’m just feeling unwell or lazy and can’t seem to find the energy to keep activities up all day.  I know everyone (and every mother) has those days, they’re inevitable, but when I weigh it against a really structured day, social time with other kids, and a sitter with an even temperament who has 30 years of experience, does the simple fact that I’m their mother tip the scales?  Most days I think so but it’s a difficult thing, to figure out what is best for everyone in the family.

For now I am here at work (although shirking my duties a bit to write this post).  I send the e-mails, I complete the projects, I smile, and I go on.  But my heart… it’s always wherever those two little boys are.


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Emery’s birthday cupcakes

On Emery’s actual birthday, we made cupcakes.  I know he wouldn’t know the difference but I just couldn’t let the day go by without doing something special on his special day.

We still (STILL!) have apples left over from apple-picking season so I looked for apple cupcakes.  I found this recipe, copied below, and it was really moist and delicious.  Martha never seems to fail.

Oliver helped me decorate and that is always fun.  We stuck a candle in one and Emery devoured it so we’ll call this venture nothing less than successful!

INGREDIENTS

2 1/4 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

4 cups apples, coarsely shredded

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt).

Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Mix in eggs and vanilla.

Mix in apples.  Add flour mixture; mix, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until just combined.

Line muffin tins with paper liners and fill halfway with batter.

Bake until tops are springy to the touch or toothpick comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.

When completely cool, frost with cream cheese frosting.

 

For cream cheese frosting:

Beat one 8-oz package of cream cheese until smooth.  Add 1/2 cup softened butter until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Gradually mix in 4 cups of sifted icing sugar.  Add vanilla.  Mix until smooth, about 1 minute.

 


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Emery’s Birthday Cake

Here are a few pics of Emery’s birthday cake.

It was a chocolate cake (recipe here) with a vanilla chocolate chip buttercream filling.  It tasted good but didn’t have a wow factor in my opinion, although I can’t put my finger on exactly what was bringing it down.  The fondant is rolled marshmallow fondant (I always use this recipe).

I wasn’t real sure about the colors when I was done putting it together Saturday night.  They looked a bit better Sunday morning and look even better in these pictures.  I especially like the starred top.  The top needed something else though so I put candles on top before serving.


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Emery’s 1st Birthday Party

Today we had Emery’s birthday party.  His birthday was on Thursday but I’m teaching them young to celebrate like their mother does… it’s not a birthday, it’s a birth week!

Here are a few pictures to remember the day:

There’s my birthday boy!  He was all napped and ready to go for the festivities.

There were balloons.  Sweet!  

I am THIS excited about balloons!  (Do you remember being this excited about balloons?!)   

Big brother loves them too!  They’ll be fun to have around the house for a couple of days.  

This picture seems to be right out of a storybook (or maybe a storybook in the making?).

And then there was cake.  Chocolate cake with vanilla chocolate chip buttercream filling.  Yummy.  

Despite practicing ‘Happy Birthday’ for days, Oliver was still mesmerized enough by everyone else singing that he didn’t make a sound.  I love Emery’s expression at everyone singing his name.  Oliver and Sophie helped blow out the candles.  

Emery was not shy about the cake.

I don’t know how I didn’t think to get pictures of everyone that celebrated with us.  We shared this special day with Nana and Papa, Nan, Grammie, and Aunt Wendy and family.  We were so glad to have them here and are so thankful for the gifts and love that they brought with us.  We are lucky to have such a great family!


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Emery turns one!

Emery,

It seems to me that our first night spent quietly together in our hospital room, those first precious moments, could have been just a few weeks ago.  Instead it was a whole year ago.  Twelve whole months.  Wow.

Part of me wishes I could make time stand still, just for a little while, and keep you just like this – a sweet good-tempered toddler who loves to try new things and chase his big brother down the hall.  The other part of me loves watching you evolve through all of these milestones, quick as it may seem, and can’t wait to see you grow up into an even sweeter little boy.

Here are some things about you as you turn one:

  • You take more abuse from your brother than you should have to (you often flinch when he comes toward you now) but you get over it quickly and still love to roll around and laugh with him.  Pssst – pretty soon you’ll be able to fight back and it’ll be a whole new ball game.
  • You’ve never turned down a food.
  • Your top four teeth came in almost all at once.  That makes six in total.  You’re a trooper though… we never noticed most of them until they had broken through.
  • You love music and are starting to dance a little bit.
  • You like giving zerberts.
  • You started climbing on the couch a few days ago but are surprisingly good at getting down.  It must be brother’s example!
  • You love doing everything that brother is doing but learned a while ago to gauge big brother’s mood and figure out when it is smart to walk the other way.  Mostly, that is.  Even mommy can’t gauge that mood sometimes!
  • You love to laugh and to make us laugh.
  • You can focus.  You sit with your shape sorter for fifteen minutes at a time.  It amazes me.
  • You are really really ticklish.

So what did we do to celebrate you turning one?

After wrestling the two of you to the hospital for your vaccinations (which you didn’t even notice – not so much as a flinch), we had snacks and played at home for a while before lunch.

Oliver and I practiced singing Happy Birthday to you.

Big brother practiced his flying nelsons for a while.  Not on you.  Just so you know.  Then you rolled around on the couch with big brother for a while.  You’re starting to do more of the rolling instead of just being rolled on all the time, which makes mommy smile.  She always was a sucker for the underdog.  
After lunch we went to the train park.  You actually slept through this part but Oliver and I had fun.  

Then we came home and made your birthday cupcakes:  Apple with cream cheese frosting.  Oliver helped with the sprinkles (and with licking the beater as you can see from his dirty face!).  He tried cleaning up the sprinkles by eating them one by one but he got bored quite quickly.  

After supper Oliver helped you blow out the candle and then you dove right in.  You thought they were pretty great!  

I know you won’t remember this birthday and the pictures won’t even trigger memories but know this:  you are loved beyond words.  I never took for granted this year home with you, not for a moment, and am thankful that we had days for just the two of us.  You have fit into our family like a puzzle piece that we didn’t even know was missing.  I am so in love with you, my bright light.


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Tree Lot

Today we went to Dingee’s Christmas Tree Lot.  They had an open house where we could tag our future Christmas tree and have hot chocolate, cider, and wheeler hay rides (in that or any order).  It was a chilly day but, as usual, Oliver loved running around outside.

He really liked it when mommy hid on him.

Found me!  Then he had to try hiding on me.  I found him though!

Emery and daddy kept an eye out for the perfect tree in the meantime.  Oliver kept a good eye out too.  I actually picked out a few but quickly got vetoed:

Mommy:  “This looks like a good Christmas tree!”

Oliver:  “No, that’s not a good Christmas tree.  Let’s keep looking!”

Then he finally said, out of the blue (and with no hints from mommy I might add), “That’s a good Christmas tree!”.  So we tagged it.  Done deal.  And the little guy has an eye for trees… perfect height, perfect size around, and no bare spots!  

What a great afternoon!
I can’t wait to see that tree up in our house!


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Counting down…

Yup, we picked up our Wish Book yesterday!

Oliver has loved flipping through it.  I don’t think he gets that these are toys that Santa might bring him but he loves to point out the cars, trucks, Lightning McQueens, and Thomas toys.  And that’s enough to give this Santa a few ideas!

Last week we were strolling through the Superstore and Oliver spied a big loader.  When he wanted to pick it up and play with it I said, “Today we’re just looking, not touching.  Maybe Santa will bring you a loader for Christmas!”.  Ever since, when he hears the word ‘Christmas’, he talks about Santa and his loader.

I’m really looking forward to Christmas this year.  I do anyway but this will be the first really magic year for Oliver so I’m excited to see him opening gifts on Christmas morning.  Emery will be busy tearing ornaments off the tree and shredding wrapping paper, I’m sure, but I think he’ll also take cues from Oliver and show some excitement too.

I love decorating the house for Christmas.  I love the music and carols (even though the choir starts in October!).  I love shopping for gifts to find that one great thing for someone.  Of course my preference would be to whip up all those great gift ideas I’ve pinned on pinterest.com but, with such limited time to devote to craftiness these days, I have to focus on just a few.

With that… Only 46 shopping days left until Christmas!